We had the good fortune of connecting with Cerissa Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cerissa, why did you pursue a creative career?
I blame it all on manifest destiny and family lineage; traits inherited from my ancestors. I grew up with artistic influence – my mother is a fine artist/photographer and my father (who passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was 3) was also an artist/graphic designer.
I always was attracted to creativity at a super young age and started drawing, dance and music lessons. Even though I loved being creative, I never thought I would eventually pursue a career in the arts as an adult. I was motivated towards a more “income sufficient” career while in college, pursuing a degree in bio/chem. I was on my way towards Medical School until I decided to take a drawing class as a pre-requisite in College and my flame for the arts truly reignited. Even though I knew that being a professional artist wouldn’t be as financially stable, I was enamored with it and everything I created. It was then that I realized that money could never top the amount of happiness I was receiving by being a creative.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a child of the 80’s, I grew up during the evolution of science fiction and futurism. My earliest memories as a child were being completely in awe of films such as Back to the Future, Star Wars, Futureworld, Bladerunner etc. As an adult, I discovered how wonderous Japanese Anime is, especially the Cyberpunk and Mecha genres. Whilst in College, I was enamored with art history, specifically Hellenism and the Japanese Ukiyo-e period. If I were to describe my art style, it would be a melting pot of all of those concepts; super future retro, if you will. I love combining bright fluorescent, graphic styles with chiaroscuro/rococo/realism.
I started off my art career in the Corporate world, first working as a Graphic Designer for a commercial real estate firm and now I am a Graphic Artist in the music/concert venue/festival industry. This is my day job, where templates and style guides prevent my full creative freedom. At night is when I bloom and work as a freelance muralist/painter. I believe in balance and this is how I maintain sanity. I believe every artist should dabble in the corporate and freelance world. It gives a better perspective on how far your creative limitations can go as well as how to maintain good time management and organization. Personally, nothing gives me more fulfillment than the freelance work that I do. I am allowed to bring my own style and outlook to the table as well as the freedom of movement, I am able to flow with the paint and get dirty. It all becomes a very visceral experience as opposed to sitting static in front of a computer for 9+ hours a day.
As a female, it has been incredibly fulfilling as well as incredibly difficult to move up in the art world. Phrases I often hear are “I didn’t know you were a female” or “wow I didn’t know girls could be that dope” or “there’s no way a girl painted that,” and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to hear that, but it also reminds me that we still live in a very misogynistic world where people still have an archaic mindset and think that women aren’t capable of doing a “man’s job.” So, I constantly find myself trying to push my own limits and creative boundaries so I can stand apart from the rest of the men in competition, especially when it comes to the Graffiti/Street art world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a busy artist, my free time is usually taken up by finding new ways to stay inspired creatively. I always find myself delving into the world of cinema, music and museums/art installations no matter where I travel to, or especially if I have friend’s visiting from elsewhere. I’m constantly going to the movie theater or video/record shops on the hunt for films or checking out as many concerts as possible from familiar to newly discovered musicians.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
If it weren’t for my mother who raised me as a single parent, yet still managed to support every move I’ve made I wouldn’t even be in the position I am in now. I also want to thank my wonderful partner, Krie, who mentored me in the mural field, taught me the true nature of aerosol and gives me constant motivation to paint.
My personal photo is by @wermss_ Everything else was shot by @fire_for_lyte